A public toilet in Linfen, North China‘s Shanxi Province. Photo: VCG
The Chinese historical coal-mining hub of Linfen, North China‘s Shanxi Province, came under the spotlight on Monday for its “five-star” public toilets, which boast distinctive national sculptures similar to the Forbidden City and Bird‘s Nest, and have attracted tourists from home and abroad.
Linfen started building public toilets in 2008, and has spent around 500,000 yuan ($73,300) per toilet, according to media reports.
So far, there are reportedly 360 public toilets in the city. Reflecting their unique exterior, each toilet is equipped with top notch facilities, including automatic flushing and faucets.
The public toilets were given the Dubai International Award for Best Practices to Improve the Living Environment by the United Nations in 2012. The city opened the country‘s first culture center related to toilets in 2018.
Some Linfen citizens said many tourists, including foreigners, would come to the city specifically for the toilets and take pictures as a memory.
Netizens praised the local government for making people‘s lives more convenient, but some denounced the showy toilets as “urban vanity projects.”
“You don‘t need to worry about being able to find a toilet in Linfen,” one netizen wrote.
In 2015, China launched a nationwide “toilet revolution” aimed at improving toilet facilities and making them cleaner and more regulated.
Newspaper headline: ‘Five-star’ public toilets under spotlight